After two straight series against National League West bottom-dwellers, the Los Angeles Dodgers get another shot at a possible postseason foe Monday as the start a three-game series against St. Louis Cardinals.
Of course, the Dodgers have plenty of history with the Cardinals and now-veteran starter Michael Wacha, who takes the mound for St. Louis. Wacha, then a rookie, dominated the Dodgers in the 2013 NL Championship Series, which the Cardinals won in six games.
Wacha is a shell of the pitcher he appeared to be becoming back then, with a 5.15 ERA while splitting time between the Cardinals’s starting rotation and bullpen this season. Monday marks his first start since July 4.
It also marks the first big league start for Tony Gonsolin in over a month. Gonsolin, the Dodgers’ no. 2 pitching prospect behind Dustin May, makes his second career MLB start and third career appearance in the Majors.
His debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 26 left a lot to be desired, as Gonsolin allowed six runs (four earned) over four innings. However, Gonsolin recorded a four-inning save on July 30 in Coors Field against the Colorado Rockies, allowing just one run on three hits.
While with Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, Gonsolin has a 4.95 ERA over 12 starts in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
Cody Bellinger returns to the lineup after a scheduled day off in which he only made a pinch-hit appearance. Bellinger is back at first base, which he figures to play more regularly heading into the postseason.
The Dodgers recently scrapped their attempt to convert Joc Pederson from an outfielder to a first baseman. Pederson is making a third consecutive start in right field.
Meanwhile, Alex Verdugo was scratched from the lineup because of back tightness. Verdugo was penciled to start in center field, which Kristopher Negrón now does. The Dodgers do not consider Verdugo’s back trouble to be serious.
The Dodgers were swept by the Cardinals in a four-game series at Busch Stadium back in April.
RF: Joc Pederson
2B: Max Muncy
3B: Justin Turner
1B: Cody Bellinger
C: Will Smith
SS: Corey Seager
CF: Kristopher Negrón
LF: Matt Beaty
P: Tony Gonsolin
3B: Matt Carpenter
CF: Dexter Fowler
1B: Paul Goldschmidt
LF: Marcell Ozuna
SS: Paul DeJong
RF: José Martinez
2B: Kolten Wong
C: Matt Witers
P: Michael Wacha